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FIFA Street 2

Why did so many people buy the first game when it's patently so awful? Can part two offer more?

What's the friggin' point? Football is a near-perfect sport, and here it has been wrecked. It seems that making a sport 'street' involves stripping out everything that makes it a proper game then replacing it with stupid, pointless stunts. All you're left with here is a disorganised mess.

EA has packed in all-new crazier gameplay but FIFA Street 2 isn't far removed from the same dire experience as the original. You start off by creating your own player. As you'd expect from EA, you can tweak every aspect of your man's physique and outfit to suit your liking. Then you set off on the usual mission to out-trick footballers around the world and earn a name for yourself - a scenario that's overused in games nowadays.

You'll need to prove your worth in footy games of more variation than you'll care to count. As well as scoring goals, winning some matches demands that you reach a set number of trick points before your opponents, or perform a number of nutmegs within a time limit, say. Some games require you to keep the ball in the air by stringing together flashy juggling moves. This must be how Pelé learned to play on the streets of Sao Paulo all those years ago!

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In most cases, the tricks are more important than the goals themselves. Tricks are performed with the Trick Stick, otherwise known as the Right thumbstick. You pull it in any direction and you player will flick the ball about like he's in a Nike advert. It looks nice but there really is nothing more to it. Instead of somehow enhancing the excitement of football, they're the fundamental flaw of the game, because whenever a trick is activated, the defending player becomes completely paralysed.

When your opponent activates a nutmeg trick, you lose control of your player as he enters a long and frustrating 'I'm being fooled' animation. You can't anticipate the attack in its early stages and change direction or stick a foot in - nothing. You can only watch while your man just stands there as if Jamelia's just walked onto the pitch in her pants. Then he stumbles to the floor like a complete twerp, leaving you screaming "GET UP, YOU KNOB" while your opponent strolls past easily.

We wouldn't mind if this kind of stunt was tough to execute, but it's as simple as shoving the 'Trick Stick' in a single direction. This ease of use means that tricks - and in turn, the long stun animations - basically take over the whole game. You'll spend half your time yanking the Trick Stick about and watching your player flail around like he's being attacked by killer ants, and the rest of the time watching your player stumble around uncontrollably like he's doing a dance.

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Tackling is a real pain too - your opponent just needs to keep pulling stunts one after the other, with reasonable timing, and no defending player will get near them without getting stuck in a fit of consecutive paralysing animations. It's so awful it's almost funny - you're completely powerless. What the thousands of people who bought the first game liked about it is a mystery.

Nevertheless, it was popular, and so the sequel arrives with new gameplay aspects to make it even 'crazier'. Now when you charge up the power bar a circle of light appears on the pitch. Run the ball into this circle and you'll activate the new Trick Beat system. During the next few seconds, the game goes into slow motion. Anyone you fool with a trick during this time will become 'beat' and they have to sit down until your Trick Beat power wears off. Your shot power is also greatly amplified, meaning it's easy to score.

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